The Raptor Trust today is a large, well maintained complex consisting of a medical infirmary, an education building, a gift shop, and some 70 exterior cages and aviaries containing over 130,000 cubic feet of space. All are sturdy structures designed to accommodate the many recuperating birds that will be released, as well as the unreleasable individuals that permanently reside at the facility. Recuperating birds are housed in secluded aviaries and are not accessible to visitors. Resident birds are housed in more open aviaries and are accessible for public viewing. Currently, there are approximately sixty hawks, eagles and owls of twenty different species that have found permanent homes at the Raptor Trust. Visitors to the Trust are afforded a unique opportunity to view many of these permanent residents at close range.
Unreleasable raptors are kept at the Trust for several reasons, including captive breeding, foster parenting and public education. Many unreleasable pairs of hawks and owls kept at the Trust have mated and produced young. The species that have bred include American kestrels, screech owls, barn owls and snowy owls. The snowy owl breeding in 1994 was the first ever for New Jersey and one of the few times this species had bred in captivity anywhere in the United States. When grown and self sufficient, all captive-bred young are transported to the proper habitat, at the proper time of year, and released to the wild. Over the years nearly 200 young raptors born at the Trust have been set free.
Other unreleasable individuals, primarily females, are kept for use as foster parents to raise orphaned young raptors. By using foster parents of the orphans’ own species, we can ensure that young hawks and owls learn correct behaviors and don’t become imprinted on their human caretakers. Hundreds of young orphaned raptors of many species have been raised in this manner and successfully released.
The Trust also has an education building located at 1452 White Bridge Road, next door to the avian facility. It contains a 40 seat classroom, the Trust’s business office, and visitors’ rest rooms. There is a large parking area adjacent to it that can accommodate school buses and several dozen cars, and is only a short walk from the bird area. For more information on the types of programs we offer, go to the section called Educational Programs.
Our Gift Shop is located at the far end of the complex across from the infirmary building. Here, you will find many bird-related gifts for both children and adults. Exclusive Raptor Trust items include t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, totes, pens, posters, and photo prints. All proceeds from the Gift Shop go towards a wonderful cause–the care of our avian patients. We can accept payment by cash or check–sorry, no credit cards.
With a year round staff of eight, several dozen volunteers, and seasonal employees in the spring and summer months, the Raptor Trust operates full-time, 365 days a year.